Julianne's Interview

CARTER's Family History via New Zealand


Transcription of the taped interview which took place between Julianne (interviewer) and Muriel L. and Gladys P. (interviewees) at the home of Gladys P. at Otaki, New Zealand, 29 March 1998.
© 1998 Julianne
Tape 1, side 1  |  Tape 1, side 2  |  Tape 2. side 1

Jules: This is Julianne and it's the 29th of March 1998, a Sunday, and I'm at my mother's house [Otaki, New Zealand]. And I'm talking to my Aunt, what's your full name?
Muriel: Muriel. Muriel, that's all.
Jules: Muriel L., nee Strong and her date of birth is...
Muriel: 4th of the 7th 29. No, the 7th of the 4th.
Jules: The 7th of the 4th 1929, and I've also got my mother here, Gladys P., nee Strong, Aunt Muriel's sister, and she, her date of birth was the 4th of July 19 - what year was it, Mum?
Gladys: 27
Jules: 1927, so now we're going to begin the interview about Aunt Muriel's visit to England and Mum and Aunt Muriel's recollection of their parents. So you'll have to speak up a bit because the tape recorder's over there, but we should be right. So what were you just telling me about your first impression when you went to England.
Muriel: One of my first impressions to England was sailing up the Tilbury, ah, the Thames into Tilbury Docks, and all the sunken ships, because it was 1948 when I did this and just shortly after the war, and they hadn't started to clear up all the wreckage from the war.
Jules: And what were you saying about the smell?
Muriel: Well, Tilbury had an odour, which if I went back now I don't suppose I'd smell it because all the docks are cleaned up, but it smelt of spices and river water, rubbish, everything and (something) had a smell of its own, and getting in the train and traveling over the top of the houses, and all we saw were chimney tops and arriving at Elephant and Castle to see my mother that looked like my grandmother that looked like my mother waiting at the door. If you didn't know any different you'd think they were clones, you know, and that's how that's, and meeting all the relations that had come for that day.
Jules: And what did the house look like from the outside?
Muriel: It was a tall, narrow house, three stories high, we had two maiden ladies living on the top floor, and then there was my bedroom, and then their was, oh it must've been four stories, and then my aunt and uncle's bedroom and private quarters, and then there was a dining room and then there was a shop on ground level, so it must have been four stories.
Jules: What kind of shop was it? Was it their shop?
Muriel: Yes, a little cafe, a luncheon cafe where we sold hot meals.
Jules: So who ran that?
Muriel: My Aunt Hilda did. She was a first class cook and she started her life as a kitchen maid learning her trade and turned out to be a very good cook.
Jules: So you were staying at Aunt Hilda's place?
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: And your mother, I mean your grandmother was waiting there for you.
Muriel: Yes. And Granddad. They'd all sort of had a day off.
Jules: And how old were you?
Muriel: I'd just turned 19. I arrived there in May and I'd just turned 19 in the April.
Jules: Gee that was young to go traveling.
Muriel: It was at that time because you had to get permission from the External Affairs Department to travel, and the ship I traveled on was the Rangitata, and it was still as a troop ship where we were all in tiered bunks all the way out, and it took six weeks.
Jules: And what did Grandma and Granddad think about you going off?
Muriel: Well they wanted me to go, because I was the first contact that they'd had with their actual family since they'd come out in 1921.
Jules: So they wanted to hear, for you to find out all the news?
Muriel: And to meet all their brothers and their sisters and, which I did.
Jules: Wow, how long were you there for?
Muriel: Two years.
Jules: So you must've worked while you were there.
Muriel: Yes, I got a job up in West End in a dressmaking place, learning to be a Court Dressmaker.
Jules: That would've been good. And how did, is that where you met Uncle Bill, your husband?
Muriel: No, Uncle Bill was my cousin's friend, and we were formally introduced so that we could make a foursome. My cousin, Sid, he was the son of Uncle Perc and Aunt Dod, and he was in the war with my husband, Bill.
Jules: And what was your cousin's name?
Muriel: Sid.
Jules: Oh, is that Sid Hill? Oh yeah, he's in the photo, isn't he sitting down the bottom. Anyway, shall we have a look at this photo and you can talk about who everyone is?
Muriel: Well this is the whole family, before Mum and Dad came out to New Zealand. And this is, they were all together.
Jules: So the front corner is Uncle Bert, that's Grandma's little brother is it?
Muriel: This one here is Uncle Bert, yes, and that's her young sister and she was only six. That's Sid Hill, and this one here's Ron Hill. That's - and their the two offsprings of Aunt Dod and Uncle Perc, at the back right hand side.
Jules: Aunt Dod -
Muriel: Aunt Dorothy.
Jules: Aunt Dorothy.
Muriel: She's here. That's Aunt Dorothy. But we used to call her Aunt Dod.
Jules: Aunt Dot.
Gladys: Dod. D-O-D.
Jules: Dod.
Muriel: Yeah, Aunt Dod.
Jules: So, Sid and Ron is it, did one of them go over to Canada?
Muriel: Yip. Sid went over to Canada.
Jules: I think Anne went and saw him over there.
Muriel: No, I did.
Jules: You did?
Muriel: I went and saw him.
Jules: And what's he up to over there?
Muriel: No he has since died. He died quite a lonely old man. He was divorced over there and his two sons were in a band.
Jules: Musicians.
Muriel: Yes.
Jules: What kind of band?
Muriel: A pop band. And Uncle Sid used to follow them around a bit. But I think it was pot and drugs that got the better of him, and booze, you know, because he was lonely.
Jules: Oh yeah. So how old was he when he died?
Muriel: About 68, 69.
Jules: I wonder what the band was called.
Muriel: I have no idea, I never met them. But they were very tall, whoever they were, and I didn't meet them at all.
Jules: And they'll be So-and-so Hill, the kids.
Muriel: I should imagine, yeah.
Jules: So how long ago did he die?
Muriel: About 1990?
Gladys: Yeah, and Ron died about ten years ago, no about 8 years ago.
Muriel: I think Sid died before Ron, didn't he?
Gladys: Oh yes.
Jules: So they must've died close to each other.
Gladys: Because I visited Ron, a couple of times. His widow is still alive.
Jules: And Aunt Ada, hang on, I'm getting confused.
Muriel: Which one here do you want to know about?
Jules: Oh, okay so we've got Joyce and that's her mother, ah, Aunt Win.
Muriel: Here, and there's her father.
Jules: And Aunt Win came to New Zealand...
Muriel: Uncle George and Aunt Win - they came in 1939. And that's Joyce, Tony wasn't born then.
Jules: And Tony was born with a twin, wasn't he?
Muriel: Yeah, he died at birth.
Jules: And did she have a name?
Muriel: He.
Jules: Oh was the twin a boy?
Muriel: Yeah, no I don't think so. I think when they're born they don't name them when they're...
Jules: Well they do nowadays sometimes, but maybe back then they didn't. Well that's pretty spooky. So we were saying about Aunt, about Grandma and the Grandmother, your Grandmother Sarah Stevens and they didn't really get on very well.
Muriel: Well I didn't know that side of the story, see because I think they resented her coming right out to New Zealand. You know when she was in France they could see her. But Dad had to come out for his health because he was badly gassed during the war and she married him so she came too.
Jules: But I don't think they got on that well anyway, like I think Grandma gave me the impression that they never really got on and even when they got married, she said to me in that interview there, she was saying "oh well no one could object then."[to her marriage as she was 21 and didn't need consent.] You know, and she went off to, she was in Nice, well I think, was she already working in France? At Nice?
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: Oh yeah, and then, got married.
Muriel: See she was a parlour maid in the house, and Dad was a valet.
Jules: Oh, I thought he was a butler.
Muriel: No, it's a valet.
Jules: Well, what's a valet?
Muriel: A valet looks after the man of the house's clothing and his well-being. The butler looks after the house. The valet looks after his clothing, and keeps his shoes nice and his clothes brushed and all that sort of thing, and attends to his... personal servant sort of thing, you know. That's what Dad did.
Gladys: That's why Dad was so fussy.
Muriel: That's why, yes, he was always immaculate. See he'd never really worked before the war, before the 1418 war (sic). He came from a comfortable family.
Jules: What was the story of his family, because I don't know anything about that.
Muriel: Well, nor do we. Very much, except that his parents were divorced and Dad traveled with his father quite a lot in Germany. He was in boarding school in Germany, and was an apprentice to a sculptor, and got very badly sunburnt.
Jules: Oh, that's what Aunt Hilda told me.
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: So, I wonder what his father did.
Muriel: Don't know much about his father. I know his older brother made carbonettes but (something)
Jules: Which older brother was that?
Muriel: His name was Bill. William. Bill I think. There was six in the family, three boys and three girls.
Jules: So there would've been Bill, Stan, and was there a David that went to America?
Muriel: No, not that I know of.
Jules: Oh. Bill, Stan and your Dad then. They were the three boys.
Muriel: Robert.
Jules: Robert, yeah. So did one of them go to America. Aunt Hilda just had an idea but she wasn't sure.
Muriel: I don't think so.
Jules: So the older brother Bill, what did he do?
Muriel: He made carbonettes, you know those briquettes out of coal dust? But it was a bit too early and he went broke. But from there on I don't know much about the family, because Dad was a very private person and he never really spoke about his life.
Jules: Yeah, that's what Grandma said, sort of couldn't get a word out of him. But, so he traveled round with his father in Germany was it?
Muriel: In Europe.
Jules: In Europe. I wonder if your father spoke German or...
Muriel: I don't know. He didn't seem to us, did he Gladys?
Gladys: Spoke perfect English.
Jules: So we don't know what kind of, what happened to his mother. We only know that his mother's name was Mary.
Muriel: They were divorced when he was four.
Jules: When he was four.
Gladys: Go on tell what Mum used to say, that  they were divorced!
Muriel: My mother used to say "They were divorced!"
Jules: As if that was like the shock of...
Muriel: That was major.
Gladys: It was a terrible thing.
Muriel: It was the most major horrible thing that could happen in those days. I mean we're talking in the 1920s or earlier than that. In the 1880s, they were DIVORCED! Must have been about 1892 wouldn't it? He was born in 1889. Must have been in 1890s sometime.
Jules: So his, he sort of, his father sort of had custody of him and he went to boarding school or something.
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: So we don't know what happened to the mother.
Muriel: No, and never will.
Jules: So he kept the kids. The father more or less kept the kids. Gee that's weird.
Muriel: Well he was the youngest, and the girls all went nursing, more than likely because there was accommodation in those days. The three girls were nurses. That was Florence, and Harriet, and what was Aunt Sis's name? Agnes. Yeah, well they all went nursing, and they were like the Florence Nightingale nurses, you know that sort of thing.
Jules: Ah ha, perhaps Florence was Florence Nightingale.
Muriel: I hardly think so. Not the Florence that we knew was there, Glad. She was no Florence Nightingale.
Jules: Why? What was she like?
Muriel: She was no Florence... She was like Dad, she was a rather stern disciplinarian, wasn't she? See she married a New Zealander, and his name was Bill and they lived in Australia, and he was a big rep for Palmolive, Colgate Palmolive people, you know in Australia?
Jules: A sales rep?
Muriel: No, I think he was something to do with business.
Jules: Oh, okay. And one of Granddad's brothers, Stan, the brother Stan, the one that died at sea or something, got buried at sea, didn't he, well did he have something to do with the ship The Titanic?
Muriel: Well, I don't know that. Somebody else must know that because I didn't know anything about that. I knew he'd been drowned at sea, but I didn't know how, or what. See I was a bit younger than the others. Hilda would know more about that than me.
Jules: Well she didn't know anything about it, but she did say that, well she called her son Stan after this brother Stan, because if Granddad, you know if you guys had a brother he would have definitely been called Stanley, so she called him, so Aunt Hilda called her son Stanley, but apparently he had some connection with the Titanic. I mean he didn't die on the Titanic or anything like that, I don't know if he was one of the ship builders or something, but there was some connection with the Titanic.
Muriel: Well he died at sea, whatever it was, he was drowned at sea, how or what I don't know.
Jules: And so nothing is known about Granddad's mother apart from that her name is Mary. Gee I wonder what ever became of her. So when your parents came over to New Zealand, did they just not have anything to do with the rest of the family?
Muriel: Oh no, they constantly wrote. They were in communication all the time.
Jules: Even with your dad's family.
Muriel: Yes, yes. Very much so. He used to write to all his sisters. Constant communication with them.
Jules: I don't suppose in those days people came over from overseas for funerals or anything, did they? You know, when he died.
Muriel: No, no.
Jules: So did you just get, like a card from them or something.
Muriel: Well most of them had died before Dad.
Jules: Oh, of course, because they were older.
Muriel: They were all older. He had a sister, the oldest sister, and she died well in her nineties, didn't she? Aunt, um, Agnes, which was nicknamed Aunt Sis. And she was the last one. We got a... Mum got communication from a nephew called Aubrey. And that was Aunt Harry's son.
Jules: Are they the ones that lived in the posh house?
Muriel: Yeah.
Gladys: Muriel stayed there.
Jules: And what was the name of that house?
Muriel: It wasn't a name in the house, it was just - they lived in Colchester.
Jules: Colchester - is that the name of the town.
Muriel: District, yeah. The town of Colchester. It's an army town.
Jules: How do you spell that?
Muriel: C-O-L-C-H-E-S-T-E-R.
Jules: No, because sometimes when I go to write it I can't make out what it's called so it's good to spell things like that out. And his name was Aubrey, so what was his last name?
Muriel: Um, something Wilmot. It was hyphenated. Sidney-Wilmot. Aubrey Sidney-Wilmot, so Sidney-Wilmot was hyphenated.
Jules: So she was Hariett Sidney-Wilmot?
Muriel: Yes.
Jules: And um, from Colchester, and so how old would Aubrey be now if he was still alive? Was he older than you.
Muriel: He would've been, he'd be in his eighties. Well and truly. He was a judge advocate during the war, for the war trials in the east.
Jules: What does Judge Advocate mean?
Muriel: It means that all the war criminals were judged and found... and he was one of the judges during the trial.
[Comment from Colin Sidney-Wilmot (10 Oct 2007): "My father was Air Vice Marshal Aubrey Sidney-Wilmot O.B.E. C.B. He was Judge Advocate General. later deputy director of the legal service of the R.A.F."] "]
Jules: Oh. So he probably got married and has got kids of his own in Colchester.
Muriel: He had one son. Um, now what was his wife's name, Susan I think
[Comment from Colin Sidney-Wilmot (10 Oct 2007): "Aubrey Sidney-Wilmot married Wendy Elizabeth Wellings"].
And they were all out in Singapore just after the war. When I was in England they were in Singapore because the war trials were on.
[Comment from Colin Sidney-Wilmot (10 Oct 2007): "Muriel- who came to visit, and stayed in Colchester, while we were in Singapore, would have stayed at The Grove, Great Horkesley. The house in the attached photograph (below) of me as a baby with my grandmother, father and mother (Aubrey and Wendy Sidney-Wilmot)."]
Aubrey Sidney-WilmotAubrey and Wendy Sidney-Wilmot
Jules: Oh I see. I wonder what his name was.
Muriel: Well I used to know, but I can't remember.
Jules: So he would've been about your age, the son.
Muriel: No, I think he was older than me.
Jules: Oh, okay. Well, that's interesting. So Harriet she got married to someone, did Agnes..
Muriel: Sidney-Wilmot
Jules: Sidney-Wilmot, yeah so-and-so Sidney-Wilmot
Muriel: Agnes was a maiden lady, she didn't get married at all. And she lived with Harriet.
Jules: Oh yeah. Who were the ones that lived in Brisbane in Australia?
Muriel: That was Aunt Flo and Uncle Bill, and Uncle Bill was a New Zealander and he was born in Ponsonby.
Jules: What was his last name?
Muriel: Lawson. Bill Lawson. He was a lovely man, wasn't he, Glad. A really nice man, and they didn't have any children. It was only Dad that produced five daughters. And Aunt Harriet had one. Aunt Harriet had two kids, the daughter, and she had Aubrey, and the daughter, what's the daughter's name? And they were killed, they emigrated to Canada, she married a captain, and he was in the MI5, that's why his rank was never higher than a captain, because they didn't like giving them higher ranks because it was Secret Service you see.
Jules: Oh okay.
Muriel: And I think the family was killed in a car crash, the lot of them She had two children and they were killed in a big car crash in Canada.
Jules: So the other brothers, Bill and Stan died without being married, is that right? Stan wasn't married when he died, didn't have any children, and Bill was the one that went bankrupt,
Muriel: No, and we don't know anything about his family. See, we don't know whether he was married or whether he had offsprings, because he was a lot older than Dad.
Jules: Oh I see, he would've still been somewhere... where was your Dad from in England?
Muriel: Well, originally I think he was - I don't know where he was in England, where was he, Gladys?
Gladys: In London.
Jules: So Bill Strong,
Muriel: William
Jules: William Strong, well he'd be dead by now, but if he did have any offspring they would be in London.
Muriel: They could be anywhere.
Jules: Well, they could be anywhere that's true. Could be our next door neighbours for all we know. But, so
Muriel: Yeah, but the name was a hyphened name, it was Fergusson-Strong you know. It wasn't just Strong to start off with. No, I think over the, coming out to the colonies, I think Fergusson was dropped and made into a second name.
Jules: Oh, I see, so Fergusson with two Ss.
Muriel: Yeah, I presume so.
Jules: So he was Robert Fergusson-Strong, hyphenated. Oh, I see. That's interesting.
Muriel: Because they adopt, when you're a Scottish, you adopt the mother's maiden name as your second name, so Fergusson would have been his mother's maiden name.
Jules: Oh, Mary Fergusson. And Fergusson is also the Scottish clan.
Muriel: Yes.
Jules: So Bill would be Bill Fergusson-Strong.
Muriel: William, I don't think he was known as Bill.
Jules: Oh William. Bill was Harriet's husband, he was known as Bill, but he was a Lawson.
Muriel: No, that was Flo's husband.
Jules: And Harriet's husband was Sidney-Wilmot
Muriel: No, Sidney-Wilmot was hyphenated. What his, I can't remember.
Jules: Yeah, something-or-other Sidney-Wilmot and they had a son, Aubrey Sidney-Wilmot. No, I have got it. So Fergusson was the Scottish clan - Mary was Scottish.
Muriel: And the family name. So were Dad's parents Scottish. See he originated from Scotland, but Dad wasn't born in Scotland, he was born in London, so they must have come down, but we're talking about the 1850s.
Jules: Don't know when, that would've been goodness knows when. So that was Mary Fergusson who married someone-or-other Strong.
Muriel: And I don't know whether it was Mary Fergusson, or whether it was the son adopting the father's mother's maiden name, you see. It's very difficult. You can't remember those sort of things, and I wasn't interested when I was over there at 19 and 20.
Jules: So what were your impressions of your grandmother, Sarah - what was she like.
Muriel: Oh, she was all right.
Jules: She drank a lot didn't she?
Muriel: No, she didn't really. She liked a tipple.
Jules: Oh, I thought she was, like, an alcoholic.
Muriel: No! They couldn't afford that sort of thing. She liked a drink on a Friday night or anything like that, but her drink was a glass of gin or something like that. No, she was not an alcoholic, or a drinker of any shape or form - she was too hardworking for that. She was a really hardworking lady.
Jules: Sarah Stevens. What did she do, hard working? Bringing up the kids.
Muriel: Yeah, well when you've got nine kids, it's hard work in a small house.
Jules: And they had a two bedroomed house but she was a battle-ax did you say.
Muriel: Yes, she was a very strong disciplinarian. And she insisted on things being spot-on. She was not going to be messed around, you know.
Jules: No room for um, sloppiness.
Muriel: No, not at all. That's about all there is.
Jules: Well, I'm sure there's more than that. What was, what about, what memories do you have of Granddad?
Muriel: Oh, he was lovely. Yeah, he was lovely. I've got a cousin in Australia, or we've got a cousin in Australia, and her memories, they lived down the road a bit, that was Aunt Vera's daughter, Averil. And her memories of Grandma were awful, and Granddad was lovely. No, Granddad, was horrible, and Grandma was lovely. See different to mine.
Jules: Yeah, well that's true, but I mean all of these anecdotes, they're only perceptions anyway.
Muriel: Yes. I liked my granddad, he was lovely. He always used to say (slowly) "Now, now, Mother." She used to rave on and he'd just turn round and say, "now, now Mother." You know, "That's enough of that." And she used to shut up. And she was quite deaf, but she knew exactly what he was saying and she used to hear him, and he never used to raise a voice.
Jules: Yeah, Grandma said he never lifted a finger to touch them or anything like that. The only time she got a good thrashing was when she played truant.
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: So he was quite a gentle man, was he sort of like Uncle Bill? Old Uncle Bill that died last year?
Muriel: Oh no, very different. Very different. He was reddish haired going white, and he was a really gentle man, you know, getting a bit rotund. You know, he was very nice. Nice man.
Jules: And, apparently, according to Uncle Bill, the family used to like doing a lot of singing and that together, round the piano?
Muriel: They might have done, but when I was there they didn't have a piano.
Jules: And do you remember Grandma, or when you were in England your grandparents telling you about when they worked for Lady Something-or-other in a big old house, a big old country estate?
Muriel: Oh that was up in Yorkshire.
Jules: Up in Yorkshire.
Muriel: No, I don't remember then ever talking about, they always said that they worked in Yorkshire, but I think why they came back to London was the weather got to them. It was too cold.
Jules: But Granddad, your grandfather, he was a plumber wasn't he?
Muriel: He was what they call a Master Plumber, that means the top man, and he was always in work, he was never without work. We're talking about times when times were very hard. And he apprenticed Bill and Bert, his two sons. And Bill never went to the war, but Bert did, but there was a lot of problems in the family when Bert came back, but I don't know and don't want to know about what went on there because it was none of my business.
Jules: Yeah, well I think Bill and Granddad, your Granddad, had a falling out over money or something-or-other, and Bill took him to court, and I'm not sure if it was ever resolved, but he came over to New Zealand and according to my second cousin Anne, was still bearing a lot of grudges against his father for this business thing that had gone wrong or something.
Muriel: Yeah,
Jules: But I think they did a lot of gas fitting, gas pipe fitting at the turn of the century when London was going...
Gladys: I think I can help you there about the plumbing bit. When I went over there, Uncle Albert said that what happened was...
Muriel: Bert.
Gladys: Uncle Bert said that what happened was Uncle Bill was away overseas, over to war.
Muriel: No,
Jules: Uncle Bert went to war, didn't he?
Muriel: Uncle Bert went to war.
Gladys: Uncle Bert went to war, and Uncle Bill was doing to plumbing, and Granddad promised Uncle Bill the successor, to be the successor
Muriel: of the business.
Gladys: Yeah, of the business, and then when Uncle Bert came back from the war, Granddad gave it to Uncle Bert.
Jules: Was Uncle Bert older?
Muriel: No, he was younger.
Gladys: No he gave it to Uncle Bert and cut Uncle Bill out of the business and that's where the feud came in.
Jules: Well that's fair enough.
Gladys: And they were bitter ever since after that. And when I went over there, Uncle Bert started to go on about it, and Aunt Vera stopped him, and said "Look that's..."
tape clicks off and SIDE ONE ENDS.
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Jules: Okay, Mum, what were you saying about Aunt Bert starting to talk about it?
Gladys: Well when I got over there, he started to tell us about it, your grand... you know, your father and myself, started to tell us about the feud, the family feud, between Uncle Bill and himself, and Aunt Vera, that's Uncle Bert's wife, she stopped it, she said "Look, that's in the past, that's finished and we don't want to hear about it." So it's obviously still going on within the family.
Muriel: And another thing too was Aunt Agnes, who was Uncle Bill's sister, she was wanting to come out to New Zealand, because she had one son out here already so they came out and started making a new life out here, you see, which was good, and that was in 1952. 1952 they came out.
Jules: And what's the story with Aunt Blanche?
Muriel: She is, she was married to Uncle Vic,
Jules: Uncle who?
Muriel: Vic. Hickmore his name was, Vic Hickmore.
Jules: What would that be? H-I-C-K-M-O-R-E?
Muriel: Yes, and they had two sons, John and Allan. John and Allan, and he was a shoe salesman, a very good one. I think he used to play around a little bit too.
Jules: Oh, yeah, this is Vic.
Muriel: Hickmore, Aunt Blanche's husband. He's in there I think. (The photo of the whole family.) No, she mightn't have married by then.
Jules: No, she's still looking single.
Muriel: Yes, she's single there. Anyhow I think she's still alive, but she's a bit...
Jules: Aunt Hilda said there must have been a falling out because whenever anyone goes over there, she won't see them. Any of Grandma's kids.
Gladys: No, she'd never, she was never interested to see us. I've been over there four times and...
Muriel: Well I've been over there and I saw her...
Gladys: She was never interested. Bob and Margaret went over there, they just popped in, and although they could understand her more because they've had more to do with her. But she was very much to the point and she only stayed a few minutes.
Muriel: I used to go over and see them when I was there, and I found she was quite good, but she lived a long way away. She lived in Stanes, which was quite an effort to get down there and see her.
Jules: How do you spell Stanes? Is it like stains on the carpet stains?
Muriel: S-T-A-N-E-S I think it is.
Jules: So that's why perhaps no one visited her, because she was so far away.
Muriel: Yeah, it was a real long way to go, and she used to think herself a bit of a lady. and the family, when she was living at home, she wouldn't do any housework because she was another that did court dressmaking, she used to wear gloves all the time to stop her hands getting snagged, because you know with the fine work and um, I think they lived a pretty good life over there. But one son went into the ministry, and the other son, I don't know. But they were little devils, the kids were, little devils.
Jules: John and Allan?
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: So how old would they be now roughly.
Muriel: They were younger than me, so they'd be a bit younger than me.
Jules: Oh okay. So what kind of, who were you doing the dresses for when you were doing the dressmaking? Is it like really posh people?
Muriel: Well, where I worked was, we only had the dresses came through and there was only a number. We never knew who we made for, that was all private, and the only reason we'd know who it was when we saw a picture in the paper or something like that, who it was made for. It was only social dressmaking, it wasn't sort of like the queen. They called it court dressmaking, but it was mostly people that were in high places.
Jules: High society sort of thing. And um, let me just get my book because I think there were some things I wanted to ask you, I'll be kicking myself if I go home and realise I haven't asked you. Oh that's right, yeah I wanted you to tell me if you can remember your parents saying anything about where they worked and how they met, you know, I know they were working at this place, the guy was an American millionaire, eh?
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: Did you see that film "The Remains of the Day"?
Muriel: No.
Jules: Oh that was really weird, it was by this, it was from a book, I read the book as well, by a Japanese guy who had grown up in England, but it was about a butler called Stevens, which was pretty weird because that was Grandma's name and sort of working for an American millionaire in this big house, and sort of having a relationship as such, but not you know not a relationship as in a love affair, with the parlour maid, or the chambermaid...
Muriel: Well that's exactly how it happened with Dad and Mum I think.
Jules: It was really weird how this film and everything, you know.
Muriel: Yeah, I think they met as staff in this house. I don't really know. It's only guesswork, because their private lives were never talked about, were they Glad?
Gladys: No.
Jules: So what was your dad like?
Muriel: Oh, he was good. He's a real upright gentleman. Strict.
Jules: Did you get on really well with him?
Muriel: Yeah.
Gladys: Very strict, but he was a good father.
Muriel: And he, he never used to hug and kiss but we always kissed him good night, and we always kissed him goodbye, and his way of showing affection was he'd always wiggle our head, or stroke our hair, didn't he Glad?
Gladys: Mmmm.
Muriel: As he passed, gave you that little bit of...
Jules: touching.
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: That's nice. And did he always used to give you a hongi at bedtime, Mum used to say.
Gladys: Yeah.
Muriel: That's right. Always.
Jules: How funny. So what was it like, did you all used to go to... did you sort of, like, have a routine? Like did you have your own jobs at home and that. Like Someone-or-other had to set the table and..
Muriel: Yes, we did, we did.
Gladys: My job was to clean the brass on Saturday mornings. That's the brass switches and the brass rod above the coal range in the kitchen and all the brass things in the house.
Muriel: My job was to clean our room, wasn't it? Dust and mop our room.
Jules: Did you share a room, you and Mum?
Muriel: The three of us did. Doreen, Gladys and I were all in the one room. They were big rooms. They'd be as big as this, the bedroom.
Jules: And what about, and so did Hilda and Jean have the other room?
Muriel: Yeah.
Jules: Have they always been close?
Muriel: No, they've been lumped together... (something)
Jules: But you two have sort of been close and you were very close with Doreen, weren't you?
Muriel: No but we werent close as youngsters, we've only become close as we've got older. I think you don't, you're not close with your siblings when you're younger,
Gladys: But you and Doreen were close though.
Muriel: Doreen and I were close because there was only eighteen months difference, and Gladys was more
Gladys: I was the middle one that was sort of, the odd person in the place, odd one out.
Muriel: And I was always the one that got the hand-me-downs because I was the second to youngest. Didn't we? I think you and I really got battered actually didn't we Glad? I don't mean battered like bashed but we were always the ones that missed out. Because Jean got the new stuff because she was so little, she was always little wasn't she. Hilda and Doreen were the eldest and the youngest. I think Glad and I got the hand-me-downs and the left-overs and the turned, didn't we?
Jules: And the what?
Muriel: You know the turned things, you know, you turned the inside out to make them good the other side.
Jules: Oh yeah. So, what was it like, what did you sort of, did you get up, what times did you get up in the mornings? Did you all have to get up together?
Muriel: Yep.
Jules: Did your Dad woke you up, or your Mum?
Muriel: Yep.
Gladys: Yep, Dad woke us up every morning.
Jules: Did Grandma have a lie in and your Dad bring her a cup of tea or something?
Muriel: Yep, every morning.
Gladys: Always.
Jules: That's exactly what used to happen in Dad's parents house according to Uncle Bill, ah, not Uncle Bill, Uncle John and Uncle Ron and Uncle Arthur.
Muriel: Dad always took Mum a cup of tea, and Dad used to get us up.
Jules: And get you to, whoever made the table and that.
Gladys: And when we were working, he still always got us up for work, didn't he?
Muriel: Yep.
Jules: What did he just come in and turn the light on and say...
Gladys: Yep, he said "7o'clock" or "Half past six, time to get up."
Jules: And then what did you do, did you just get up and have breakfast, or did you get changed first or what?
Muriel: The table was always set. The table was set the night before and we sat down to breakfast. We didn't just snatch a piece of toast and go, we sat down, as a family, sat down and then each and every one of us used to shoot off.
Jules: So you'd already had your showers and
Muriel: We didn't have showers.
Gladys: No showers in those days. We had a weekly bath.
Muriel: We just washed, and we'd done all that, cleaned our teeth before, and we sat down and had our breakfast and then we went. We didn't do the dishes when we were working did we?
Gladys: No
Muriel: We did at school-time, but when we were working, we always sat down to breakfast, always.
Jules: And what did you have for breakfast? Toast?
Gladys: We had weetbix.
Muriel: No, we had porridge.
Gladys: I think we had weetbix when we were... working
Muriel: ...Older
Gladys: When we got older.
Muriel: Yeah.
Gladys: Dad always had porridge without any sugar.
Muriel: And he had bacon and eggs on the weekend. And we didn't. We had a banana. (laughs)
Jules: So, would Grandma get up after you girls, and join...
Muriel: No, she got up for breakfast. And we never ever swapped clothes, or anything, because we were all different shapes so we never had the problem of each other wearing each other's clothes, did we, Glad?
Gladys: No.
Muriel: It never occurred to us, to wear each other's, I wouldn't have worn Gladys's clothes for anything, didn't like them.
Gladys: None of us wore, swapped clothes.
Muriel: No.
Jules: And what was Aunt Doreen like?
Muriel: Like me.
Jules: Was she?
Muriel: She was like me. Very much.
Jules: Quite outspoken like you?
Gladys: She looked more like me though. She and I looked alike.
Jules: But she had Aunt Muriel's personality?
Muriel: No, no, because she was sickly, and we all sort of worked around her didn't we?
Jules: What do you mean, sickly?
Muriel: Well, she was a very severe asthmatic, and she was always, she always had special malts and special foods, to build her up, you know.
Gladys: And we just accepted it.
Muriel: We just accepted it. I mean it was very expensive for my parents because it was hard work having a sickly child because it cost you like it does today, well then of course it was different because they didn't have welfare or anything like that, you know.
Jules: But luckily Granddad always worked during the depression, eh? One of the lucky ones. And what was it like when the war happened.
Muriel: Well, we were all sitting at the table, weren't we? I can remember that as easy as sitting here, can't you Glad. We're all sitting around the kitchen table on a Sunday morning. And we had to listen to the radio and Dad said "Now you listen to me, you family." He says "When the air raids start," he says, "You've got to (something), you've got to stick by your mother if I'm not here. You've got to gather around your mother." And I can remember Mum saying "Come along! Chick, chick, chick, chick, chicks!" and Dad going up the wall, because Mum wasn't taking it seriously, and he went for "Eva!" He went for Eva, because Eva was not taking this seriously. And we had this big lecture about what we had to do with the war started. Yeah, he was a good dad though.
Jules: That sounds quite funny. So, and what happened, you know, when you got married? Did your Dad give you away and all that sort of thing?
Muriel: Yep. All of us.
Jules: And was he quite strict when you started going out with Bill? What about you, Mum?
Muriel: Well, I was in England you see.
Gladys: Well I was nursing at the time, and they were living up in Auckland and I was down in Wellington, so going out with Trevor, you know. They didn't know what was going on. But when they were home, I wasn't interested in boys, when I was at home. I didn't care about them.
Jules: So what happened when you told Dad that, because you got married before Aunt Muriel eh?
Gladys: Well when we got engaged, I wanted my parents the first one to know, so about eight o'clock at night we sent them a telegram and on the telegram we said, "We don't know how to tell you but it sparkles." So they got the telegram about 10 o'clock that night, and they were so thrilled about it, that they had to celebrate with their port. (laughs)
Jules: So they got out the port.
Muriel: And when I got engaged, I was in England you see, and Bill wrote to Dad asking if he could have my hand in marriage (laughs) and Dad said he'd be honoured and proud. And I said it wasn't going to make any difference whether he was honoured or proud or what.
Gladys: And when Jim asked Dad
Muriel: Oh that was...
Gladys: if he could have one of his, or was it Bill?
Muriel: No that was Bill.
Gladys: If he could have one of his daughters, Dad told him to take the lot. And then when Jim started hanging around, and he was, started to mow the lawns.
Jules: to get on Granddad's good side?
Gladys: Yeah, so when he started mowing the lawns, Dad wondered what was going on, that he should be coming around mowing lawns for him.
Muriel: And I can remember when Jean got engaged, because I was on my way to England, and Olive Breeze a friend of mine that was traveling on the same ship as I, she said "Oh, I suppose you know, you've read the paper that Jean's got engaged to Jim." My mother was so angry because she didn't like the idea of Jim marrying Jean at all.
Jules: Why?
Muriel: Because there was a Downs Syndrome, or handicapped child, or something in the family and my mother was a real bigot like that and she just thought that those sorts of things you shouldn't have in your family. And she was very anti the engagement, and I went off to England with this ringing in my ears about Mum being so unhappy about it, but of course it worked out fine. But she, in all her life, she never accepted people that had Downs Syndrome children or anything like that. It was the lifestyle, it was shear fear. That's all it was, because they didn't understand that these things can happen to anybody. And she just thought it was an inherited thing, you know.
Jules: And um, what did you used to do in the evenings when you were at, you know, at...
Gladys: We used to sit in front of the coal range and listen to the radio. Of course in those days they had serials.
Jules: And knit, or something.
Gladys: Knit, yes, or do our homework when we were at school. And listen to the serials. There were always serials in the evening.
Muriel: Or read.
Jules: Didn't Aunt Jean have a double wedding?
Muriel: No.
Jules: Did someone have a double wedding?
Gladys: No.
Muriel: Doreen was married a week before me.
Jules: I knew it was something like that.
Gladys: And I was married three months before Jean.
Muriel: The man that printed the invitations for my wedding gave them to Dad for free because he felt so sorry for him.
Jules: Having two daughters getting married in a week?
Muriel: Within the week.
Jules: So did you have big weddings?
Muriel: No, I didn't, I had a very small wedding.
Gladys: Hilda and Jean were the ones that had the big weddings.
Muriel: and Doreen.
Gladys: Did she have a big wedding?
Muriel: yeah, she had a big wedding, because I'd just come back from England. And we had a big wedding. She had a big wedding.
Jules: I wonder what Doreen's children are doing now? Do you keep in touch with them.
Muriel: Susan is in America with three kids, she's married to an Army (something). Those kids would be big teenagers now. And um, Susan, Robyn, that was Robyn. Susan's in New South Wales, and her Tamar, must be, oh, quite big now, she'd be in her late teens, and she lives in Newcastle. And um, Bruce is a graphic designer, he used to work for TV2, but he does, whats-her-name work now,
Jules: Advertising or something.
Muriel: No, he's on contract, does contract work and his wife is a very talented designer as well.
Jules: Where does he live?
Muriel: In Auckland somewhere, I've tried to get in touch, but I think they've got a private number. And the youngest one, Russell, he is, lived in Germany for a while, and he married a German girl but they've come back and he's got a son I think and lives in Auckland somewhere, but I don't know. But I think they're getting on all right.
Jules: Who was the one who came with their daughter to Grandma's funeral? Or someone, didn't someone come to Grandma's funeral?
Muriel: That was Jill's, um, Jill was dead then, and that was her husband and his two girls.
Jules: What did she die of?
Muriel: Jill died of cancer.
Jules: Oh, that's right.
Muriel: And her daughter came, do you remember, young Rachel?
Jules: Oh, I can't remember. Was that at Grandma's funeral?
Muriel: Yeah. She's the one that works in Auckland and all these kids, well she's not so young now, she's twenty, they rent this warehouse, and they've got their six foot square and it's all painted on the floor, and nobody, but nobody goes over each others' square.
Jules: how funny. Is she Jill's oldest or is she the,
Muriel: No, she's the youngest. The eldest one's really nice too, Nicky.
Jules: Oh, yeah so there's Nicky and Rachel. And where does the father, what's the father's name.
Muriel: Peter, Peter Hales, he's nice too.
Jules: Is that H-A-Y-L-E-S?
Muriel: H-A-L-E-S.
Jules: Well where does he live?
Muriel: Napier. Tamatea, in Napier.
Jules: Who was in touch with them? I wonder how they found out that Grandma had died.
Muriel: Because we let them know. Because they're still part of our family, you know.
Jules: Did you know where to find them?
Muriel: Yes, well we still keep in touch with them.
Jules: Oh I see. Well then I might send them some of this information, family tree information.
Muriel: Well I don't suppose Peter would know much about it.
Jules: Oh no, I might send it to them when I've done it, you know printed it all out and that.
Muriel: Muriel: Oh yes, well they'd be interested because after all it's Peter's first wife's...
Jules: Oh has he remarried.
Muriel: Not yet, no, but he could be, you don't know.
Jules: Yeah, well that's true.
Muriel: He's only in his mid-forties.
Jules: How long ago did Jill die? She must have been young.
Muriel: Oh, she was 38, and she would be 47 now, going on, she would be 48 on the 19th of April.
Jules: Did you know her quite well.
Muriel: Yes, because when Doreen died I had all the kids, all five of them.
Jules: Oh, did they come and live with you?
Muriel: For a while, yeah. So I had seven kids.
Jules: What happened to Doreen's husband?
Muriel: He was in the army, so he had to get straightened out, you know. Because he absolutely went to pieces.
Jules: So he went back to the army?
Muriel: He was already in the army.
Jules: And what was his name?
Muriel: Jim. Jim Carter.
Jules: That's right. Has he died now?
Gladys: Yeah, he died. He died of cancer.
Muriel: He was the same age as me. His birthday was in January. He would have been 69 in January. He's been dead about two years, hasn't he Glad? But he never really, although he remarried, he never really got over Doreen.
Jules: What can you remember about when Doreen died?
Muriel: I can remember I was up on holiday, up in, Maungateroto up North, and we'd rented out this old tram, you know half of it was bach and the two halves (a friend of mine). The men had gone fishing, her husband and my husband had gone fishing. And we had this policeman come around looking for us. And Molly thought it was her mother that had died. It was such a shock. And the policeman was there because it was a holiday place, they were in a police bach, you know, and I, they were very good. They came up, and Jim had got in touch with me, and I'd been advertised on the radio, you know would I get in touch. It was so awful. At any rate, when they found me, they let me use the phone and I rang Jim and said well bring the kids home to me, and we had to cut our holiday short, and had all the kids, and I had all these howling kids who'd lost their mother, you know, it was awful.
Jules: How old were they ranging from?
Muriel: Oh, Russell was only nine.
Gladys: Eight.
Muriel: Eight, was he? Jill was seventeen was she, eighteen. Round about that age. And I had to start them off at school, you know, because it was between Christmas and the new year. She died on the same day as your dad died, that date.
Jules: Oh yeah, the twenty-eighth, the twenty eighth of December was it?
Gladys: The twenty-ninth.
Jules: Twenty-ninth.
Muriel: And she was buried on the first was she? No, a bit later than that because they brought her up from Rotorua, um, from Hawkes Bay, didn't they?
Jules: Dad was buried on the 31st wasn't he?
Gladys: Mmm. We wanted him buried before the new year.
Jules: Why's that?
Gladys: Because we didn't want him to go into the new year and hang over at the morgue while all the holiday period was on.
Jules: Jul: Oh yeah.
Muriel: Well Jim's was later than that with Doreen's funeral because they had to bring her up and the hearse broke down in Rotorua and the had to get another hearse. Oh, awful, awful situation.
Gladys: Yeah, terrible.
Jules: So the kids must have been with you for quite a while then.
Muriel: Oh until he got settled down, yeah. It's terrible.
Jules: And what can you remember about when your father died? Where were they living?
Muriel: They were living in Mt. Eden, ah they had a flat in Valley Road in Mt. Eden, and I got a call in the middle of the night to come over, that Dad had gone into a coma. He'd had some mini strokes before then.
Jules: How old was he?
Muriel: Muriel: 78. And
Jules: I think he'd been having strokes that year.
Muriel: He had been having mini strokes all the way through. And I got this call to say that Dad had gone into a coma, and I went over there, and the doctor had, Mum had called the doctor, so we sort of rung the family, and Jean came up straight away,
Jules: From Wellington
Muriel: Yes.
Jules: Just by herself?
Gladys: She flew up.
Muriel: Yeah, she came up.
Jules: How did you get up, Mum? Did you go up with Aunt Hilda?
Gladys: I came up with Hilda and Bill in their car.
Jules: Did Dad stay home and look after the kids?
Gladys: Yeah.
Jules: So he didn't go to the funeral?
Gladys: No.
Jules: So then what happened, Aunt Muriel?
Muriel: Just the normal thing, you know, the
Jules: Did he die like overnight, or were you all sitting there...
Muriel: He just died during the morning, about 11 o'clock in the morning, he just drifted off.
Jules: Having had the, having gone into the coma the night before.
Muriel: Yeah, he never came out of the coma, never.
Jules: So you would have all been there by then.
Gladys: No, he was already dead, he was already dead. Jean had got up there just before he died. We got up there about 8 o'clock that night, and Hilda was in fear and trembling, because she'd never seen a body before and she hoped that he wasn't there when we got there, and he wasn't there. He was in the morgue by the time we got there. And with both Granddad and Aunt Doreen, I had to quieten my mother down because she sort of got hysterical and I was sleeping in the same room as her and I had to sort of pull her socks up.
Jules: What did you do? Just give her a cuddle and that? Because she wasn't...
Gladys: Spoke to her quite firmly actually.
Muriel: Yeah, she was sort of a bit neurotic, wasn't she Glad? Hysterical was the word.
Jules: What does that mean? Crying and that a lot.
Muriel: Yes, she was raving like a maniac. She was being stupid actually. I think she thought that's what you had to do.
Jules: What do you mean - raving like a maniac?
Muriel: Well, she was "Oh my Bob" (dramatically) and all this sort of drama. She was being very dramatic, and I think she thought that was what she had to do. Because she was a great reader of...
Jules: Novels...
Muriel: Yeah, true romances and all that sort of thing.
Jules: And um so after that did Grandma just live by herself.
Gladys: Yes.
Muriel: Yes, up in the flat, at 12 Valley Road. In Mt. Eden, and then she started finding that the flat, she couldn't bear the flat. You know, she wanted to get out.
Tape clicks off - END OF SIDE TWO
Back to the top

Jules: This is Julianne, and I'm still talking to my Aunt on the twenty eighth, twenty-ninth of March 1998 and we're now up to tape two side one, and we were just talking about Grandma, where she went to live after Granddad died.
Muriel: She stayed at the flat in 12 Valley Road, and she met this man that lived further down the road, and his name was Mr. Strong too. She went with him for a while, but then she found out that she only wanted a housekeeper, so she ditched him. Jul: Fair enough.
Muriel: And then she went to live in the pensioners' flats in Landscape Road, Mount Eden.
Jules: Oh, is that where we used to go and visit?
Muriel: Yes And that's where she was until she decided that she was too old to live there any more because she was going blind.
Jules: And can you remember, did you ever go, can you remember about your dad's work? Did you ever go and visit him at work or anything like that?
Muriel: He worked down the railway station and we'd quite often call in and see him at his work, but he didn't like it very much. He didn't like the family visiting him in his office. He really didn't.
Jules: Oh, so he had an office job there?
Muriel: Yes, he had an office, but he was in charge of the refreshment branches in the railway, you know catering for the trains, the refreshment on the trains.
Jules: Is that the famous Railway Food?
Muriel: No, that was in the Railway Stations. What he catered for was mostly during the war were American staff, and things like, people like that. It was quite, quite a job. It really was quite a job. And things were terribly rationed in those days.
Jules: and which railway station was he based in?
Muriel: Wellington.
Jules: Oh wow, he worked at the big Wellington Railway Station.
Muriel: Yes, he did. And he had an office which you walked into off the concourse, you know the
Jules: Just when you walk in the front door?
Muriel: No, it was right in the...
Gladys: You walked door off the side of the station.
Jules: Oh, yeah. So can you remember then telling you any stories? Like you know how occasionally, you know, I can remember stories about when Granddad used to come and visit and no one was allowed to put their hands on the table or else they'd get donged with the spoon, can you remember your parents telling any stories like that about...
Muriel: Their family, no. Never really talked about their families, our parents didn't, did they Glad?
Jules: They didn't talk about their early days?
Muriel: No, they did not. Not at all.
Jules: so, when you grew up, did you grow up in Ngaio?
Muriel: Yep.
Jules: Anyway, Aunt Muriel, can you please have a look at this big photo here. It's Aunt Hilda's...
Muriel: Fiftieth Wedding, I was over there in England.     50th Anniversary Photo
Jules: And which ones are Aunt Hilda's and Uncle...
Muriel: That's Aunt Hilda
Jules: So that's one, two, three, four, five along, next to the lady with the baby on her lap.
Muriel: And that's her husband, Uncle Albert.
Jules: Above her.
Muriel: No, that's Uncle Bert.
Jules: Next to Uncle Albert, on the right of.
Muriel: No, sorry - that's Uncle Bill. And that's Uncle Bert.
Jules: So Uncle Bill is standing above a man with glasses on.
Muriel: That's Granddad.
Jules: Granddad's got the glasses on.
Muriel: Granddad, and that's Grandma.
Jules: And she's standing below Uncle Bert, or sitting below Uncle Bert. Do you know anyone else in the photo? Well, there's you, second from the left.
Muriel: yeah, and that's Aunt Agnes.
Jules: Sitting next to Aunt Agnes.
Muriel: That's Uncle, that's Bob and Bill, you know my cousins, that's his mother,
Jules: Oh I see, and she's third along in the second row, in the first row, well in the very first row is lots of kids kneeling, sitting on the floor with their hands and arms crossed.
Muriel: That's young Bill. That's the one that lives down the road. That's Allan, that's Aunt Ada's boy. This is a Martin, that's Aunt Vera's youngest boy. And this is John,
Jules: Allan's brother,
Muriel: yes, and this is Averil, that lives in Australia.
Jules: A very pretty little girl.
Muriel: yes, and she just looks like that now. And this little girl was a stranger. She was a daughter of somebody or other that came.
Jules: Do you know who this is sitting on the other side of you?
Muriel: Yes, that's, this is husband and wife, and they're, she is sister of Picky, here.
Jules: Picky?
Muriel: Yeah, Picky is Ada's husband.
Jules: Okay and Picky.
Muriel: His name is Harold.
Jules: Harold, and he is above, he is two above Aunt Hilda.
Muriel: You're never going to remember this.
Jules: No, well that's why I'm saying it like this.
Muriel: Oh right. Well, he is Picky's brother, and there's his other brother. This is Picky's sister and husband.
Jules: Picky's sister is next to you.
Muriel: I beg your pardon, that's not Picky. That is, here's Picky here. And that's his brother right behind him.
Jules: Okay, so hang on a minute. Picky,
Muriel: His name is Harold actually.
Jules: Picky, Harold is the man sitting next to the lady, he's sitting to the left of the lady with the glasses on,
Muriel: That's his sister.
Jules: That's his sister, she's above Aunt Agnes.
Muriel: See these two are sisters, you can tell that they're sisters, that one and that one.
Jules: Yeah,
Muriel: And this is his brother there, and that's brother-in-law
Jules: Who's married to the lady next to you?
Muriel: Yes. Now next row along, next to Aunt Agnes, that's Margaret. Vera, I beg your pardon, and young Margaret on her lap, and that's Uncle Bert's wife.
Jules: And Uncle Bert is standing above Grandma Stevens.
Muriel: And then that's Aunt Hilda, Granddad, Grandma, that's Aunt Dod, and that's Iris, Allan's wife, cousin Allan is directly behind Iris here, and that's Aunt Blanche, and this is Vic her husband, Vic Hickmore behind her. That's Aunt Vera, that's Averil's and Martin's mother, and that's John, her husband,
Jules: Standing behind her.
Muriel: Yes, and this girl here, that is this man here, that's Ron Hill that's his first wife, Joyce.
Jules: Okay, Ron Hill is standing next to Uncle Bert. To the left of Uncle Bert.
Muriel: Yes. And this is Mary, and no, I don't recognise her, wait a minute, I'll come to her. That's her, that's Allan. That's Sid, next to Ron, Sid and Ron, thanks Uncle Bill, that's Harold.
Jules: Okay, Uncle Bill is the one above Granddad Stevens.
Muriel: Yes, and Bert his brother is next to him.
Jules: Uncle Bill, is that the one that's married to Agnes.
Muriel: yes.
Jules: Now, hang on, where were we?
Muriel: Now we're coming on to the next row here. This is Ada,
Jules: And she's standing next to a man that looks like he's got very thick glasses on.
Muriel: That is Bob Stevens. That lives down the road. And that's her husband Picky,
Jules: Who we've already identified.
Muriel: Yeah. And that's her brother.
Jules: So she's actually standing next to her brother, isn't she? And Picky is a little bit down.
Muriel: What do you mean? Ada is actually standing next to her nephew.
Jules: Yeah but on that side that's her brother isn't it?
Muriel: Brother-in-law. Yes. And this is Mary and Bertie Clift, friends. Mary and Bertie Clift.
Jules: Bertie and Mary Clift, and she's got her hand on his shoulder.
Muriel: Yes. And that's my husband Bill, there. And these people are just friends of my Granddad's, because Granddad was a foundation member of the Applegarth Club, which was a working man's club.
Jules: How do you spend that? A-P-P-L-E-G-A-R-T-H
Muriel: yeah, and these are friends of that.
Jules: Four men at the back.
Muriel: Yes. Now this is Len. Now Len here is Uncle Bill's oldest son and he lives in Canada now.
Jules: Oh that must be the one Anne visited.
Muriel: Yes.
Jules: And he's two above Aunt Dod.
Muriel: Aunt Dod's son, Sid is above, and then Len is above Sid. These are Aunt Dod's sons here. That's her husband, Percy.
Jules: Aunt Dod. So Percy is next to Len.
Muriel: Yes, white hair. And this is Vic, and Vic is the brother of Alan, and they're Aunt Ada's sons over, next to young Bill Stevens, the other side. And these two are just the musicians. But these older guys up here are Granddad's friends from the Applegarth Club.
Jules: I wonder if that's the AppleGarth logo there.
Muriel: Yes, it is. It's the Apple Garth Club.
Jules: And is that in London?
Muriel: That's in Thornton Heath, Surrey, England. It's where they all came from.
Jules: I think that's where that Lady lives, that they were working, they were working on their house. He was working on her house, the Lady, she was, you know a Lady Someone-or-other.
Muriel: No, never heard of it.
Jules: I don't know if that's in Thornton Heath, but Uncle Bill, who just died, was saying something about it, that at one stage they were working for a Lady at their house.
Muriel: They could have been. At the Grange.
Jules: Perhaps it was at the Grange, yeah I'm not sure.
Muriel: But that was their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.
Jules: Oh okay. And Aunt Hilda died while you were over there.
Muriel: Yeah, she was 51 when she died, you've got that wrong, she was 51 when she died.
Jules: And that was in - What year?
Muriel: 1949. Because I came home in 1950 when she'd died.
Jules: So she must have died shortly after her fiftieth wedding anniversary then. Um, it can't have been her fiftieth wedding anniversary if she was 51 when she died then.
Muriel: Yeah, but this, she died after they had their wedding anniversary.
Jules: Oh it was their wedding anniversary then, Grandma and Granddad's.
Muriel: Yes it was these two's.
Jules: For some reason I thought it was Aunt Hilda's.
Muriel: No, Aunt Hilda's, no. She was the eldest member of the family. Aunt Hilda was the eldest, then Aunt Dod was the second one, then Aunt Win. Aunt Win wasn't there. She was the next one. And then my mother was the next one. Then there was Uncle Bill, then there was Aunt Ada, then there was Aunt Blanche, down here, and then there was Uncle Bert, and then there was Aunt Vera, which was there.Aunt Vera was quite young when I was over there. That was a good party that was.
Jules: What can you remember about it?
Muriel: Oh we had a good time there, good fun. Good party, it really was, good family party. And all the grandsons, because you realise, there was only me, and Averil and baby Margaret were the only girls, all of the others were guys, grandsons, you see we were the only granddaughters there. Everybody else was a grandson. And this one here, must have been this one's daughter, but I don't know them at all.
Jules: And that's the little girl on the end, and the lady on the end of the second row.
Muriel: Yes.
Jules: Who was she again.
Muriel: Oh this was Ron's first wife, Joyce. And they divorced and Ron remarried.
Jules: And were you engaged to Bill at this stage?
Muriel: I don't know whether I was engaged to him, but I was going with him. And you see, Sid, this one here, and Bill were great mates.I think that was the first year I was there. This would have been in 1948, early in 1948 that photograph was taken.
Jules: Fifty years, eh? How, can you remember hearing how your grandparents died?
Muriel: Grandma died of a heart attack. Um she was going blind just like Mum did, and was very deaf. And Granddad lived to 99, and he died just before his hundredth birthday, he died on the fifth of November and his birthday was on the twenty fifth. And even then all the family was starting to scrap about who was going to have the Queen's telegram, before he died, but he beat them to it. And he just died of old age, you know.
Jules: In London. They stayed living in London.
Muriel: They were in Thornton Heath, that's actually in Croydon.
Jules: Croyden. Oh wow, how exciting. It's good to have this photo. So these four men and your Granddad are the founding members of the Apple Garth Club where this party was held?
Muriel: Yes. These guys here, these old boys here.
Jules: I wonder who they were,
Muriel: If you went to the Apple Garth Club, you would get their names, you know,
Jules: In London
Muriel: No, it's in Surrey actually. Thornton Heath in Surrey.
Jules: Okay, so it's not in London.
Muriel: You'd have to go to the Apple Garth Club and their names would be on the boards. And some, they'd recognise this picture anyway.
Jules: Well I'll have to get Malcolm to scan it in actually because I've got an e-pal on the internet, this guy and he's in Croydon, so I could easily write to him and send him a photo, of the scanned this and get him to find out.
Muriel: Yeah, you could name them all, you'd have to start off with Granddad, and Grandma.
Jules: wow, that would be interesting.
Muriel: They'd know.
Gladys: Well do you feel happy with what you've done?
Jules: Oh yeah, I've got heaps. I've got heaps now, I'll just go over this family history thing I have, and I'll see if there's anything else you can add. Let's see - apparently Grandma had the same birthday as her mother, twenty fourth of December.
Muriel: Yep. So have you got Vera's address, Mum.
Muriel: Yeah, I have.
Jules: Oh cool, you'll have to give it to me at some stage and I can send it all off to her.
Muriel: Vera, the only one still alive in England.
Jules: Oh yeah, and I can print it all out and send it all off to her and see if there's anything...
Muriel: Aren't you the lucky girl?
Jules: I know, aren't I?
Muriel: Aren't you the lucky girl by golly?
Jules: You never know, she might be able to fill in some more of the gaps.
Muriel: Yes.(pause)
Jules: But I'll get these photos off to Malcolm and he can scan them in, I've got the other one of that other one and he can scan them in. And I'll send over to this guy in Croyden and get him to go to the Apple Garth Club.
Muriel: Vera & John Stamford, 47 Gogmore Farm Close, Chertsey, Surrey KT169 HE.
Jules: Okay well just let me copy that, let me do that right now, thank you. Oh what lovely neat writing. I'm not going to have any trouble reading this. I'll go and pick up my wee girl soon and bring her back and I'll get a photo of us all, and I'll get Mum to take a photo of us. So how old would Vera be now?
Gladys: About 78 wouldn't she?
Muriel: yeah, she would be, because I think John is about 80. I think she's about 10 years older than me.
Jules: Okay, can anyone think of anything, Mum? Childhood memories of your dad? What sort of things did you used to get for your birthday.
Gladys: Tell Julianne about a memory that one of the girls in the class had about us playing in the paddock next door. Oh you weren't there.
Muriel: Yes I was.
Gladys: Were you? One of the girls, I think they were in Hilda's class at school. And at one stage, one of us had the measles, so we were all in isolation for a week.
Muriel: I'll tell you what it was. It was when I had scarlet fever.
Gladys: All right, and we were all in isolation.
Muriel: Yeah. Because we had to go into isolation. Yeah.
Gladys: For a week. And we weren't allowed to mix with anyone. And right next door to us there was a paddock, so we all used to play in the paddock, you know and have a great time.
Muriel: Because there were horses in there.
Gladys: And play in this paddock. And these kids instead of their lesson, well they were having lessons in class you see, but they were all looking out the window at us. They could see us playing in the paddock from the school. You see the paddock was up here, and then there was Colway Street down here and the school was up here. So, of course there's all trees there now. So they were looking out the window, and they could see us playing in the paddock up there, and they were envious like anything, and we were in the paddock, playing and having a good time while they were doing lessons in school.
Jules: Because you weren't allowed to go to school because of your scarlet fever.
Gladys: Because we were in isolation.
Muriel: And we were all hanging over the fence waving to the kids in school.
Gladys: Because they were in class you see, and instead of concentrating on the lesson, they were envying...
Jules: so did you live that close to the school.
Gladys: Oh yeah, we were only about five minutes walk away.
Jules: so what was the name of the school?
Muriel:: Ngaio.
Jules: and that's, you just went to the reunion now.
Muriel: Just come back from there.
Jules: So any other interesting people there that you remember? Like, did you see a lot of your old school friends there?
Muriel: I did.
Gladys: Muriel did - there was a big class of Muriel's there but there was only one of mine. One girlfriend of mine. There were some boys but because I wasn't interested in boys at school I wasn't even interested to hunt them up there. Because I would've known them, and they wouldn't've known me. I never had anything to do with them. But there was one girl though, who was probably in, the girl Hills in your class. She must have been in a younger class still.
Muriel: In Doreen's.
Gladys: Anyway, Loma, she had a crush on a boy in our class, who was very nice looking and his name was Jack Vayne. And he was there, I didn't see him. He was there anyway, she saw Jack and she said "Oh, I can remember you at school, oh I loved you." And he said back to her, he said: "Oh I was in love with a girl called Christine". She said "I felt so deflated I couldn't get away from him quick enough."
Jules: And was he good-looking now?
Gladys: I didn't even see him.
Jules: Did you see him Aunt Muriel?
Muriel: No, No I had a guy that kept on saying "you were my three-legged partner when we had school sports." He was getting to be a little pest and he was going on and on and on. Extremely well-dressed but... What was his name? Something O'Neill, wasn't he? And I said "I bet you've got a lovely wife and nine hundred and ninety-nine kids." He says, "I've got nine hundred and ninety-eight."
Jules: That was good. Oh well, I might go and get Felicity. I'll leave it on in case you can think of anything, cos I'll be right back.
Muriel: Oh we won't think of anything.
Jules: Oh well I'll leave it on anyway in case you say something as soon as I've walked out the door behind my back. (laughter)
Gladys: Oh we won't be able to talk. We'll be too frightened to talk now.
Jules: Okay, I'll be right back, I'll just go and get Felicity and bring her back and then we'll get a photo. She'll be wrapped to put on her new top.
door closes) END OF INTERVIEW.

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